MPs will hold emergency meeting on Desjardins data breach

Desjardins president and CEO Guy Cormier reads a statement during a news conference in Montreal on June 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The House of Commons’ public safety committee will hold an emergency meeting on the Desjardins data breach that took place last month.

The Quebec financial institution revealed last month that one of its employees illegally accessed and shared externally the personal information of more than 2.9 million of its members, including 2.7 million individual members and 173,000 business members.

READ MORE: Desjardins says personal info of 2.9 million members shared illegally by employee

The company said the employee was fired, but it is now facing two class-action lawsuits as dual investigations by both the federal and Quebec provincial privacy commissioners are looking into how the breach occurred and whether Desjardins failed in its duty to protect user information.

Social insurance numbers, names and addresses were among the information reportedly stolen and shared in what Desjardins called a “malevolent” act.

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Birthdates, phone numbers, emails and transaction histories were also shared, however passwords were not.

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Now, members from all of the main federal parties will also probe the matter in an emergency meeting of the public safety committee.

Liberal MP John McKay is the chair of that committee while Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus and NDP MP Matthew Dube are vice-chairs.

It is not yet clear when that committee will meet, but McKay said on CBC News on Tuesday morning that it will be “soon.”

READ MORE: Privacy watchdogs launch probe over Desjardins data breach

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He also urged the company to voluntarily offer up its leaders to appear at that meeting rather than force the committee to subpoena them.

“I think it would be definitely in Desjardins’ interests to try to get ahead of this issue and volunteer their presence on the committee,” he said.

He also told the Canadian Press Monday evening that he hoped to hold the emergency meeting early next week but that it is more “realistic” to aim for the end of next week.

“Since the members are on break and there is a lot of work required to prepare (the meeting) properly, I hope that I can count on the cooperation of all the members,” he said in an email exchange.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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